Revealed: Maroons made SOS call to Bennett last series

 

Queensland secretly put Wayne Bennett on standby to coach the State of Origin side last year and he will field another SOS if Kevin Walters joins the Broncos.

Bennett has distanced himself from speculation he could coach Queensland in the three-match State of Origin series in November but, if Walters lands the Broncos coach job Bennett's phone will be the first one ringing.

QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher has revealed Bennett had agreed to take charge of the Maroons last year if Walters had beaten Anthony Seibold for the Broncos job.

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Wayne Bennett as Maroons coach in 2002 Picture: David Kapernick
Wayne Bennett as Maroons coach in 2002 Picture: David Kapernick

Hatcher, who has known Bennett for more than 40 years, claims there is a slight chance Walters could coach the Maroons in November even if he lands the Broncos job ahead of Paul Green in the next few weeks.

But the more realistic option would be for Walters to concentrate on his new role, especially given the Broncos desperate plight.

"Because we were so convinced Kev would be the Broncos coach when Anthony Seibold got the job I rang Wayne Bennett and said we could be in strife and could he help us out. He said yes,'' Hatcher said.

"Once again the big fellow (Bennett) is waiting in the wings to come in if he has to.

"Kev has done a hell of a lot of work on the Origin front this year but I am very careful about putting him in a compromising situation where he has to put 100 per cent into the Broncos then has to worry about Queensland.

 

Gene Miles, Kevin Walters and Bruce Hatcher during a press conference. Picture: Liam Kidston
Gene Miles, Kevin Walters and Bruce Hatcher during a press conference. Picture: Liam Kidston

 

"I would hate for him to have to try to deal with the environment the Broncos have at the moment at the same time as having the optimism to coach the Maroons."

It may seem contradictory to allow Bennett to handle the Maroons while still coaching Souths and have Walters withdraw because of club commitments but Walters would be launching his first grade coach career in extremely challenging circumstances while Bennett has nothing left to prove.

Hatcher is extremely supportive of Walters bid for Broncos.

"Kevin has won six premiership as a player and came into a very difficult Origin environment as a coach when he was starting from scratch and really had to rebuild a foundation of players.

"The thing I like to see is coaches was how they react in adversity. I remember when Kev lost his first game and went into the dressing room and it was like there had been a death in the family.

"How he handled that was brilliant. He made a statement like "they did to us like we will do to them.' He did not abuse anyone. They won that series.

"He makes tough decisions. I would say if they have any perceived views on his weaknesses they can counter that by hiring quality assistants. No-one can say he has not earnt the right.''

 

 

Originally published as Revealed: Maroons made SOS call to Bennett last series



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